Crooks renting cars from reputable companies and then committing serious crimes has become a trend which business and the police are trying to stamp out.
The police and the car rental industry had entered a partnership to fight this crime, provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Marinda Mills said.
She said the police were finding new investigative methods to link suspects to the rented cars.
“Investigating officers throughout the province are aware of this trend and have established good relationships with companies, who are cooperating with police investigations,” Mill said.
“The perpetrators mostly pay in cash and not credit cards.”
Chintsa Security Services director Mjongile Gogela said: “Criminals use a legitimate individual with a valid driver’s licence to book a car.”
Later, the person who hired the car would claim that they had nothing to do with the robbery.
“In 2014, we arrested thieves driving an Avis car after they broke into a property at Khamanga Bay.
“The car was hired by a lady who worked at Pick n Pay. She claimed her brother took the car while she was at work without her knowledge.”
Mills said: “An example was the murder of Port Elizabeth teacher Jayde Panayiotou where the alleged perpetrators used a hired vehicle.”
Mills said the fraudulent renting of cars was happening nationwide.
“Our detectives are very aware of this tendency.
“It is important to get a registration number and description of vehicles involved in crime for the police to check with rental companies.
“In November, a rented vehicle was used in taxi violence in Ngangelizwe, Mthatha, where a person was killed.”
Mills said most hijackings of British American Tobacco trucks were done by assailants driving hired vehicles.